I confess I had some rage recently when my post that I spent an hour on got lost. Life has been keeping me busy but I have still been cooking. Algeria is such an interesting country. I remember taking high school French and watching some videos in class about the racial conflicts with the Algerian emigrants. Algeria in the 20th century actually was a French colony until they won their independence in the 1960s. Because of that, there is a huge French influence in the country and French is a major language there, along with Arabic and Berber.
Last month was Ramadan on the Islamic calendar so I made Harira. This is a tomato based soup with meat, vermicelli and chickpeas. It is hearty and used to break the fast. I got the recipe online from moroccanfood wiki. It was delicious but it made a TON of soup! So prepare to feed a crowd. Harira is called a Moroccan soup but since the countries are in such close proximity, culinary inspiration has a tendency to overflow. I served it with pita chips and the traditional handful of dates.
I wanted to make a sweet with each country and decided to make Makroud. I read a couple books about people’s childhoods in Algeria and many of them mentioned this fried treat. It is an almond and date soft center surrounded by crispy fried semolina dough dipped in honey. Crunchy on the outside, sweet and smooth on the inside. If I was a bigger fan of dates I think I would’ve liked them better. But they were still delicious and very easy to make. I would recommend them if you like dates. I got the recipe here.
The last dish I made was a chicken tagine with olives. I found a wonderful website all based on Algerian food. What I like best is the little cultural note she makes with each dish. She mentions at the end of the recipe that the tagine is traditionally served with french fries not couscous. I read it incorrectly and bought couscous so we just ate it with that. The tagine was more like a slow braised chicken soup with olives and onions in it. Since John and I had come down with colds, it was very welcome.
I’m afraid extra reading is out for now as I’m pretty busy with school but I would recommend heading over to goodreads. They have a list for everything and I’ve found a lot of good books that match with the different countries I’m visiting.
Here’s some other recipes that I didn’t get a chance to make that sounded interesting:
Markode aux Pommes de Terre – the blogger says this is similar to a Spanish tortilla – eggs and potatoes
Beghrir choco – North African chocolate pancake served with date syrup
Next week is Andorra!